New Year, New Start

HELLOOOO!!! Yes, I'm back. And for real this time. One of my resolutions (not just for the New Year) is to become a serious and better blogger. So I'm doing it. You may have noticed the new layout - hope you like it! I'm pretty proud of that banner, if I do say so myself. And before you say I'm late with the New Year greeting, Chinese New Year has just passed, so I'm going to stick to the lunar calendar for now.

Just one year ago, I was celebrating Chinese New Year in London with a small group of equally homesick Singaporeans - now I'm writing to you from home in Singapore. I moved back and even started working here, so I'm not running off anywhere anytime soon. 

I'm excited about this new chapter of my life, even with the annoying stresses of being an adult. I think it's worth celebrating, don't you? And in my book, it's not a celebration till there's cake. 

Can I just say how awesome my new bundt pan is? All those sharp edges translate to crispy bits, which can only be a good thing. The sheer heft of this pan also means that heat is transferred slowly through it, cooking the cake evenly. I got it at ToTT on Dunearn Road - If you haven't been there, please do! It's seriously dangerous for a hoarder like me, but I can live with the risk.

This cake is based on cake goddess Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe, which makes the most to-die-for, golden, buttery, tender yellow cake. Plain and simple. But in the spirit of Chinese New Year, I've jazzed it up with Singaporean flavour. 

Adding rempah kueh (the kind used in kueh lapis) gives the butter cake a perfumed, almost savoury taste. The Gula Melaka 'secret' is a streusel-ish filling, which melts and runs through the cake, lacing it with an extra special gooey deliciousness. I know it doesn't look like much, but I swear this is one of the best cakes I've ever made.

Spiced Butter Bundt Cake with Gula Melaka Secret

5 egg yolks, at room temperature

190ml milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

250g cake flour/top flour

250g caster sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder 

2 teaspoons Rempah Kueh (ready-made cake spice mixture, buy at any supermarket)

142g unsalted butter, at room temperature, roughly cut into cubes

For the Gula Melaka secret:

70g Gula Melaka, grated coarsely

50g cornflour

1 teaspoon Rempah Kueh

Generously butter the inside of a 10-cup Bundt Cake Pan. Preheat your oven to 170C. 

Mix the ingredients for the Gula Melaka secret, stirring together with a fork until slightly damp and well combined.

In a medium bowl or measuring jug, whisk the egg yolks together with the milk and vanilla extract.

Using a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed for 30 seconds - this helps combine and aerate the dry ingredients.

Add the butter and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until the mixture has the texture of damp sand. 

Keeping the mixer on, gradually add the egg and milk mixture. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat the mixture for 40 seconds, to strengthen the mixture and combine everything.

Scrape two-thirds of the batter into the prepared cake pan, sprinkle the Gula Melaka secret mixture evenly on top, and top off with the remaining batter. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. It is best to start testing the doneness with a cake tester or satay stick at around 45 mins - if the sticks comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly, it's done!

Cool in the cake pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack and let it cool completely. Cut and serve! 

This cake stays perfect at room temperature till the next day, but after that refrigerate it up to 3 days.